Iberoamerican Conference Focuses on Migration and Development
Representatives of 30 countries including 22 member states of the
Iberoamerican Secretariat, international organizations and NGOs met
this week in Madrid to discuss migration flows from, through and to
Iberoamerican member states.
Their preliminary conclusions, which will be presented to heads of
state at the Iberoamerican summit to be held in Uruguay in
November, included creating policies that will generate employment,
reduce poverty and increase earnings in countries of origin;
respond to real labour market needs; promote circular and return
migration; lower the cost of remittances; increase access to
banking and credit for education and link migrants to their
countries of origin by allowing them to vote.
They agreed that regularization exercises should be a first and
necessary step for the integration of migrants, but must not be
used as a way to control migration. They also concluded that
long-term migration policies should aim to retain qualified
individuals in their countries of origin.
IOM Director General, Brunson McKinley, who attended the two day
meeting organized by the Iberoamerican Secretariat, with support
from IOM, CELADE and the Carolina Foundation of Spain, stressed the
need for countries to focus on a manageable number of essential
questions in order to achieve consensus and tangible results.
“Migration needs to be better integrated into development
policy and planning, and countries need migration policies and the
internal capacity to develop them. Also, the business community
needs to be drawn into the migration debate, along with better
mechanisms to match supply and demand for labour globally. With the
growing focus on diasporas as agents for development, the
development potential of diasporas needs to be explored and
enhanced,” he said.
The main issues discussed by conference participants included
strengthening cooperation with civil society to develop policies
that promote migrants’ rights; promoting the dignity and
value of migrants and eliminating discrimination; promoting ways to
link migrants and their families with development efforts in the
countries of origin and developing policies for temporary labour
IOM’s World Migration Report 2005 estimates that some 20
million Latin American and Caribbean nationals live outside their
country of birth. From 1995 to 2000, the net emigration rate for
Latin America and the Caribbean was the highest of any region in
the world. Although emigration is predominantly to North America,
IOM research confirms that migration to Europe from Latin America
and the Caribbean (LAC) has grown rapidly over the last decade.
While in Madrid, Director General McKinley also held bilateral
meetings with high level officials, including the Spanish Minister
of Foreign Affairs, Miguel Angel Moratinos, and Ellen Sauerbray,
United States Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of
Population, Refugees and Migration. He also signed cooperation
agreements with Dr. Ruben Silié, Secretary General of the
Association of Caribbean States, and with Margarita Escobar, El
Salvador´s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
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